"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Socio-cultural literacy

One thing I've heard in class and readings is socio-cultural literacy. It's something I'm familiar with but haven't seen it with this name. My son is high functioning autistic, and is relatively illiterate socio-culturally. Aspergians don't pick up on non-verbal clues or social cues. This makes it very difficult for them to be involved in a Discourse. David was in a private school which was very accepting of his disability, but he still wishes he could repeat upper school with the skills he's learned over the last fifteen years. Socio-cultural literacy doesn't just affect those with disabilities. Learning a Discourse takes time and help.


  1. I completely agree with you. Learning discourse is an extremely difficult task for many people with or without a disability. We all have a need to fit in socially within our culture and the unspoken hidden curriculum is extremely challenging for many. The individuals that have the hardest time with the socio-cultural cues seen in society every day also have wonderful and different perspectives that society would benefit from viewing.

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  3. Dear CPSCAT, You highlight an extremely important topic, which you term "socio-cultural literacy: the ability to "read" the interpersonal world. You illuminate this form of literacy through the vivid example of your son, and connect this understanding of reading "cues" with Discourse: the identity-laden system of words, symbols, gestures, posturing, etc., that constitutes a way-of-belonging-with a group. And Lisa suggests the cost of not having access, but also the possibilities...I am sure you are aware of the self-advocacy social networks out there, such as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network: http://autisticadvocacy.org/
    one example of a so-called marginalized community "writing" the world with their own Discourse.
    One note: our class is taking a socio-cultural approach to understanding literacy, which overlaps and is distinct from socio-cultural literacy as we are discussing it here. Can you see the differences? :)

  4. Yes, I see the difference. It was just a thought, because David's inability to see the world is something I'm always thinking about. Socio-cultural literacy, as written in Gee et al. (I know I'm getting ahead of myself), is very different.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.